The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday December 8th

Student group holds Worship at the Old Well

Hal Cooley (center) and Anna Currie (right) of the International Justice Mission leads worship and prayer for issues surrounding human trafficking at the Old Well Monday evening.
Buy Photos Hal Cooley (center) and Anna Currie (right) of the International Justice Mission leads worship and prayer for issues surrounding human trafficking at the Old Well Monday evening.

International Justice Mission is a non-denominational Christian organization that values the power of prayer and works internationally to combat human trafficking and other injustices.

The UNC chapter of the organization hosted its fourth annual Worship at the Old Well on Monday, during which participants praised God and asked for assistance in ending the injustice of human trafficking.

UNC Chapter Vice President Caroline Nichols said while many people might see prayer as passive, IJM views it as one of the most active actions people can take to combat this issue.

“Ending human trafficking is a daunting task, but without God’s help, it’s an impossible one,” said UNC Chapter President Emily Gebbie.

Despite being a Christian organization, IJM welcomed people of all faiths to join them in prayer. Being open to interfaith prayer is just one way the organization is raising awareness to this issue.

The event comes at a time when the issue of human trafficking is at its worst in recent years, Gebbie said.

She said human trafficking is now the second largest criminal industry in the world, following only the international drug trade.

The issue of human trafficking is two-fold, divided into labor and sex trafficking. Of the female victims of human trafficking, 70 percent are trafficked into the commercial sex industry, according to 2004 data from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The average age of a victim entering the slave trade is 12 to 14 years old, Gebbie said.

Despite the presence of laws against human trafficking, about 30 million people have fallen through the cracks around the world, Gebbie said.

UNC’s IJM aims to push lawmakers to pursue criminals and bring them to justice when they are captured.

Many students at the event said they think raising awareness about this issue is crucial.

“If you’re not aware of it, you can’t be passionate about it, and if you’re not passionate about it, you definitely won’t do anything about it,” junior Emma Biggerstaff said.

Nichols said raising awareness on campus and throughout the country about this global injustice is the key to working towards a resolution — and those who gathered together around the Old Well on Monday think prayers are one way to do so.

“We can still do something. Prayer is doing something,” Nichols said.

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